SCRANTON – It was a simple plan to undercut competition with the lowest prices in the region.
But the formula to raise fast money didn’t work for a multicounty cocaine and marijuana ring, authorities say. The operation, authorities say, continued despite the arrest of its ring leader in 2005.
On Tuesday, state Attorney General Tom Corbett announced the arrests of 18 people in the second phase of “Operation Bad Rap,” the name of the investigation that centered on rap musician Dennis “Dapper Don” Stepney, who at one time lived on East Spring Street, Nanticoke.
Corbett identified Stepney, 32, as the ring leader responsible of pumping more than 20 kilograms of cocaine and up to 100 pounds of marijuana on streets in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties in 2004 and 2005. The street value of the drugs topped $2.4 million, Corbett said.
Stepney and 10 other ring members were arrested in March 2005.
Tuesday’s arrest was the result of the ongoing investigation, Corbett said.
Corbett said Stepney’s organization was flooding the two counties with cocaine and marijuana. As a result, the demand was higher because prices were lower than other competing cocaine dealers, Corbett said.
An ounce of cocaine on the street normally sells for $1,200, Corbett said, but Stepney and his alleged dealers were selling an ounce of cocaine for $800.
Stepney used the illegal proceeds to finance his record label and two music compact discs, said Senior Deputy Attorney General Robert O’Hara.
“Evidence uncovered during the first phase of this investigation showed he was using proceeds from the cocaine and marijuana business to try to get his record label off the ground,” O’Hara said.
After Stepney’s arrest and subsequent conviction, ring members continued to traffic cocaine and marijuana from New York City to the region, Corbett said.
Nicole Telford, 32, of Scranton, whom Corbett identified as a key player, allegedly sold cocaine from McDonalds on Keyser Avenue, Scranton, where she is employed as a manager.
O’Hara said several of the members lived in the greater Wilkes-Barre area and sold cocaine at many places in Luzerne County.
“Tyrone Tyler known as T-Gotti lived in Wilkes-Barre. He roomed with a person known as Charles ‘C.J.’ Chisarick. They conducted drug transactions in Wilkes-Barre as did some of the other individuals including Walter Little,” O’Hara said. “They weren’t bound by any geographic boundaries. They bounced around between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.”
O’Hara said the alleged dealers sold cocaine and marijuana primarily on street corners and parking lots.
One of the suspects held parties at his Scranton home, Corbett said, where cocaine and marijuana was available.
Corbett said the parties were attended by high school students.
A list of charges and suspects:
Charged with conspiracy to deliver cocaine: Nicole Telford, 32, Scranton.
Charged with conspiracy to deliver cocaine, delivery of cocaine and possession with intent to deliver cocaine were Tyrone “T-Gotti” Tyler, 26, formerly of Wilkes-Barre; Walter Little, 24, Clarks Summit; Khalid “L.K.” Willington, 30, Scranton; Mike Dyson, 22, Scranton; Kyle Melvin, 19, Scranton; Robinson “Tone” Schwendemann, 36, Lake Ariel; Erin Holland, 20, Scranton; Charles “C.J.” Chisarick, 28, Hanover Township.
Charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine: Sylvia Cruz, 46, Scranton.
Charged with delivery of marijuana, conspiracy to deliver marijuana, and possession with intent to deliver marijuana were Cody Miller, 22, Scranton, and Paul Mclane Jr., 21, Scranton.
Charged with criminal use of a communication facility: Ismael Oles, 21, Scranton; Andrea “Rachael” Trunzo-Tighe, 29, Scranton; Jennifer Aregood, 32, Scranton; Allison Aregood, 35, Scranton; Ty Souryavong, 31, Scranton; and Kristine Hubert, 33, Scranton.